Win a Seat with Randy Petersen on Star MegaDO 4 (and $400 charitable donation + me win an iPad)

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Ever dream of a time when airlines and hotels treated you like a VIP? Ever want to have an insider’s look at the travel industry? And to spend it listening to one-upmanship exploits told in code words like ‘CPM’ and about lawsuits against shopping portals?

…then Star MegaDO 4 is your dream come true.

The event is November 13-17, the schedule begins in San Francisco, on to Houston, and wraps up in Chicago, featuring charter flights on United and events with United and Hyatt.

Before you read further, be aware that if you win the contest you are responsible for your positioning flights to San Francisco and returning from Chicago. You need to be available November 13-17, so check your calendar. Also must 18 years of age or older.

The Contest:

BoardingArea, which hosts this blog, is giving away two seats next to BoardingArea founder and miles guru Randy Petersen on Star MegaDO 4. 29 BoardingArea blogs are participating (list and details here). You are allowed one entry per blog. Each blog will select one finalist, 29 finalists in total, and of those, Randy Petersen will randomly select the 2 contest winners. Each winner will be awarded one seat. Full rules here.

The Prize:

The seat giveaway gift from Randy Petersen consists of one economy ticket on the 2012 StarMegaDo4, hotel accommodations at partner hotels, and $250 cash for personal expenses. Expenses not specified above, including, but not limited to ground transportation and incidentals, are winner’s responsibility.

How to enter:

Reply with a comment on this post in answer to the below Question no later than 11:59:59 pm MT October 7, 2012. One entry per person. Per person. Not per email address/IP address/etc. Attempts at multiple entries will be disqualified. Comments that are obviously SPAM or do not answer the Question will be disqualified up to the sole discretion of Rapid Travel Chai.

The finalist will be selected at random by Rapid Travel Chai and the result posted on Rapid Travel Chai as an update to this post on October 8, 2012.

You must leave your legal given name and first letter of your surname as your name in the comment.

You must leave a valid email address. Your email address will not be used by Rapid Travel Chai for any purpose other than to give the finalist’s email address to BoardingArea for final drawing, and possibly for a thank you note from Rapid Travel Chai for entry.

Question:

Randy Peterson has dedicated his life to helping others. Millions of people have benefited directly and indirectly by his efforts large and small. His business projects, such as Star MegaDO 4, often involve charity components. In the spirit of his work, the Question to answer is:

How have you helped a traveler you did not previously know?

Where applicable, please provide details that can help or inspire other travelers. For instance, if you shared a tip with someone having a meltdown at an airport, share the tip here. If you donated miles to fly someone for a worthy charity, share it here. If you stopped to help someone with a spare tire, share that.

But wait, what if you are the Rapid Travel Chai finalist but do not win the Star MegaDO 4 seat?

In the spirit of giving back, and the 4th Star MegaDo, Rapid Travel Chai will make a $400 donation on behalf of the Rapid Travel Chai finalist to a charity of the finalist’s selection. This donation will be made whether or not the finalist wins the Star MegaDo 4 seat.

Charity must be an IRS Except Organization (see here). Any tax treatment/benefits pertaining to the donation will be applicable to Rapid Travel Chai in accord with standard charitable donation practice for gifts on behalf of others.

About that iPad:

Full disclosure – the two BoardingArea blogs from which the two winners are randomly selected will each win an iPad from BoardingArea. I have never purchased an Apple product. This may open the flood gates like when a friend gave me my first G.I. Joe figure at my age 4 birthday party.

Update October 8:

The winner has been selected and is #134 Moshe P, see here for further details.

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The $400 charity selection and stories of travel Samaritans from Win a Seat With Randy Petersen - Rapid Travel Chai$400 charitable donation winner and finalist for Win a Seat with Randy Petersen! - Rapid Travel Chaideanna cMichael VTrunkSpace Recent comment authors

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[…] question for entry in the Win A Seat With Randy Peterson giveaway brought many touching […]

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[…] so the finalist is selected at random from eligible entries by comment number on the official entry post. There were 176 comments on the post, the following ruled ineligible by not answering the required […]

deanna c
Guest
deanna c

helped an old lady figure out she wasn’t at the right gate and helped a middle-aged lady figure out how to turn down the brightness of her ipad…

Michael V
Guest
Michael V

I held the hand of a seatmate who was very afraid of flying and talked her through what was happening during an aborted landing.

TrunkSpace
Guest
TrunkSpace

Counselling a nervous flier, I love flying and did all I could to help them through. Said it was the easiest flight they had ever taken

Karli
Guest

I returned to my hostel in Budapest late one December night. In the bathroom I found young Russian man who looked very freaked out. He’d been mugged and had no money or other means to return to Austria, where he was studying abroad. I told him I’d be happy to buy his fare and give some extra “just in case” money. Since we’d both planned on leaving the next day anyway, we decided to travel together. It wound up being extra fun for me as well, as a train strike complicated our departure plans, and I suddenly had this delightful… Read more »

Erik E
Guest
Erik E

I helped a young lady from Ireland get in touch with her family when her flight was delayed to fly her home.

She was returning home from a visit in the US and had no cell phone or computer. In addition to e-mailing her brother, I gave her a 30 min. phone card I had so she could call her parents and guested her into the club lounge so that we could get confirmation from the flight staff that her flight would make necessary connections,

Tina
Guest
Tina

I just help my girl friend to get lots of hotel points for her coming trip to DC & London.

Jeanne M
Guest
Jeanne M

I rendered emergency medical care to a 17 year old, with no pulse or respirations, on an American Airlines flight last year. There was no one else on the plane that could assist. NEVER want to be in this situation again!! Happy ending, he is fine:-)

Gee K.
Guest
Gee K.

Not big, but I always offer to take photos if I see a family, couple, or friends so they can have a picture together without someone missing from it. All about the memories!

John B
Guest

Listening. I have had people board crying. When I quietly ask if they are all right, I find that they have just received news that someone they love has died. I listen non-judgmentally. This allows them to work through their emotions. People need people.

Boaz H.
Guest
Boaz H.

Had a chance to help an elderly couple at EWR few years ago. The UA agents were really harsh with them during a miss-connect episode and they really had a hard time understanding even what was going on, so I handled things for them with the agents and happy to say it helped them.

Shannon M.
Guest

On my last Delta flight from ATL – PDX I sat next to a guy who seemed really exhausted. I asked him if he was OK and he proceeded to tell me how he had been stranded in the airport for 24 hours due to flight scheduling and financial problems. Apparently he had not eaten within that timeframe. I hooked him up with a couple of snack box tickets I had and he was able to eat a meal. I would certainly want the same to happen to me if I was in that situation.

baxterboy12
Guest
baxterboy12

Donated 130k US Airways miles and a couple thousand Starwood points for two Award tickets to the Congo and 1 night at Aloft Dulles for a man and his 8 year old daughter. He fled Kinshasa because of war in the early 90’s and needed to return home to see his dying mother this past summer. A friend knew I collected points and introduced me to the need. I started collecting 18 months ago and this was definitely the best point redemption I’ve made.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

I try to helpful to each person i encounter who seems to be distressed with their travel experience.

Tracie
Guest
Tracie

I’ve had a few times where I was fortunate enough to help a stranger during their travels – once was letting a man use my cell phone to call his wife to come pick him up at the airport. (Sounds trite, but we landed to an unexpected snowstorm, his car was on the roof of the airport garage and he had alreay shared with me that he had no winter coat (due to the storm being a surprise), no scraper and he did not own a cell.) He was able to call her from the plane instead of possibly freezing… Read more »

Pulvdiggity
Guest

When an airline agent and customer were just talking past each other, and the customer was an elderly woman, I stepped in and explained the situation to the customer. The woman thought she was being kicked off the flight, but they were just looking for volunteers for an oversell.

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[…] Rapid Travel Chai […]

Andy Nguyen
Guest

I gave my blanket to a woman with her child when she said how cold it was to the flight attendant. Hopefully the kid didn’t get sick!

Erik E
Guest
Erik E

I gave up a seat in first once to a very young person in military uniform. This fellow was flying back to Salt Lake and it was his second time on an airplane.

David
Guest
David

I have “guested” several unknown travelers into various lounges. Usually fellow travelers I have met while during irregular operations.

James M
Guest
James M

I can’t count how many times I have helped people figure out which gate they should be at. Infrequent flyers have trouble with that.

Natalie M
Guest
Natalie M

When exiting the Cancun airport there are time share reps that tell people they were sent by there hotel to help. I told several of my fellow travelers to walk past them outside to the actual drivers.

Abrar K
Guest
Abrar K

I started only few months ago but already started sharing the knowledge with friends and family

Paul A
Guest

Told the guy next to me about TK status match. He has never had a lounge access as in 1K

Lori B
Guest
Lori B

Last month my husband and I were in Milan at a Malpensa Express train station late at night. There was a Russian girl traveling to the airport with her luggage. She got off at the wrong station. Her flight back home to Russia was leaving in 2 hours. There were no cabs to be found. The next train to MXP airport was arriving in 1 hour. She only spoke Russian. She was crying because she couldn’t get to the airport in time. We walked outside trying to figure out a solution for her. We walked around outside with her until… Read more »

Danny
Guest
Danny

I often give direction at the DC Smithsonian Mall. Also, I act as travel consultant to my co-workers. Giving advise on CC sign-up bonuses and etc.

Susan
Guest
Susan

A few weeks ago, I was returning from Amsterdam. As I was going through security, a fellow paused to let me go in front of him as he was traveling with a friend behind. I decided to stop in Duty Free to see of I could find a small bottle of Tullemore whiskey for a friend. Not seeing what I wanted, I ended up with a bottle of water. As I was in the queue to pay, here comes my security buddy with a bottle of overpriced Captain Morgan’s. As I knew they were flying to Las Vegas, I suggested… Read more »

Jrey
Guest
Jrey

I shared tips on spending miles with a stranger last flight last week. We have become friends and found out that we have something in common in term of research/work!

Russ
Guest
Russ

I helped tourists on the street with directions

Teeh
Guest
Teeh

I have not done a lot of reading but I hope United use 787 to Europe and/or Asia. Yes, I am very excited about this!!! Count me in!!!

Rapid Travel Chai
Guest

@Teeh – this does not appear to be an answer to the required question, please submit a unique response to the question required in my post. Your original comment ruled ineligible.

Donna Crum
Guest
Donna Crum

Recently gave up my window emergency row seat on a long haul flight so a separated older could sit together. On the return I was able to bless my seatmate, a professor, with entrance to the lounge so he could work more easily while awaiting his onward flight. Fun to be able to bless others!

the fifth amendment
Guest
the fifth amendment

I donate miles to organizations to use as giveaways in their fundraisers a few times a year, enabling people that would not normally travel to do so. I also once upgraded and elderly frail-looking gentleman as my companion. He was extremely grateful.

mtlfire
Guest
mtlfire

I guested someone into the lounge that had lost in wallet during a connection and didn’t have his star alliance gold card on him — despite it being listed on his boarding pass, they still wouldn’t let him in.

barelyelite
Guest
barelyelite

Offered to take myself off a standby list so that a soldier (2nd on the list) could get home to his family. In the end, 2 standby seats were available, so we both were able to get on, but the guy was very gracious.

Yana K
Guest
Yana K

Helping other people when they seem bewildered with the airport layout – think Charles de Gaule!

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[…] Rapid Travel Chai […]

Karlyn
Guest
Karlyn

I’ve given them my drinks /meals

Carolyn S

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

I often give NYC subway advice and directions!

eitan
Guest
eitan

Offered to guest a seat mate into the United Club when I learned that she had a long layover at the end of a multi-stop day of travel.

Hoa N
Guest
Hoa N

I found a crying platinum blonde haired 20-something girl crying in a sea of black haired Vietnamese people who didn’t speak English at the Hanoi train station. It was 5am and I was headed somewhere with a bed and food, but spent the next 2 hours helping her find her lost friend.

Vince S
Guest
Vince S

I give up my seat frequently so families can sit together.

Justin S
Guest
Justin S

Little things on a regular basis but recently my E+ seat from SFO-IAH to a middle E- so husband could sit with wife and infant.

Moshe P
Guest
Moshe P

I gave up my seat to take a middle seat, so a Dad could sit next to his teenage daughter.

Suzanne W
Guest
Suzanne W

I adopted a college kid returning from Paris when our BA flight was canceled out of LHR due to the snowmeggenden (sic) on the East Coast- I had her wait with me in the Club World line and then when they tried to reroute her to Philly via Boston with a change to US – i said no – she had to fly direct LHR/PHL since the two feet of snow in Philly would be worse in BOS as well as the cancellations/luggage. Her parents were yelling at her (as if the cancellation was her fault) and she had an… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Last year, a Mom and Son were sitting next to me. All she had was cash, no credit/debit cards. The Son, who was 4, was hungry and wanted something to eat. I had his snack added to my card with mine…told the Mom it was on me. She only had $2. I was on my way to an interview and paid it forward. Didn’t get the job, but I felt good about what I did.

Yigal
Guest
Yigal

brought along a friend of my in lounge

ashley
Guest
ashley

Helped in a Paris subway use the automated ticket machines

gleasonja
Guest
gleasonja

Helped locate her lost passport in the airport! phewwww

Nancy H
Guest
Nancy H

Recently offered direction and assurance to a group of travelers on the streets of Chicago. They emerged from the Clark/Lake “L” station looking bleary eyed and overwhelmed after taking the train downtown after an international redeye flight. Helped direct them to their hotel and assured them the streets were safe in the pre-dawn hours. 😉